Homeless Shelters Preparing for Increase During Cold Weekend

Given the cold weather, homeless shelters expect more people to use their space for the night.

“We never know exactly how many people will enter the shelter, but it usually increases as the weather worsens,” said Safe Harbor Chairman Mike McDonald.

Safe Harbor Shelter in Traverse City opened its doors for the winter season on November 1st.

“We started with a little over 30 guests the first night, but we were up last night in the mid-1950s,” said McDonald.

They expect that number to rise this weekend, especially as nighttime temperatures drop in the top 20 to mid 30s.

“We have a capacity of 82 beds,” said McDonald. “We’ve only come close to this capacity a few times in the five years we’ve been open. We’ll see what happens here. “

Traverse City Police say they routinely screen the homeless population, especially when the weather turns colder.

“In my career, I’ve responded to several deaths that left them freezing to death overnight,” said Captain Keith Gillis of the Traverse City Police Department. “With the conception of Safe Harbor, that helped to eliminate this so far. It gives us a resource in the middle of the night when we have to take someone somewhere because it’s so cold outside. “

The officials also have care packages donated by members of the local churches that they are handing out to the homeless.

“Little things from shaving cream to deodorant to shampoo and toothbrushes,” said Capt. Gillis. “Our officers have these, and they can give them to someone if they need something out of this pocket.”

You just want to make sure people know about the resources out there.

“With the rain and all, it’s going to be a bad night to be outside,” said McDonald. “I think people will come.”

If you need shelter or resources to help tackle homelessness, please visit the Safe Harbor website for more information.

Traverse City Police Department needs donations to help create more care packages for the homeless. If you have toiletries, bags, or warm hats and gloves, you can drop them off at the Traverse City Police Department.

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